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The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

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The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

Postby David McMurdo » Saturday December 4th, 2021 5:53pm

When the new Avalon Hill HeroQuest arrived at my abode, I declared that my Saturday nights would once again be my HeroQuest nights. Since I was eager to get playing straight away, I created a party for solo play using the app. Now, as eager as I am to try out the new heroes that came with my Mythic Tier box, this was my first opportunity to finally play HeroQuest using the coveted (by me) North American ruleset, and I wanted to do so using the traditional heroes. And so it was that Jaegar the barbarian, Thorgal the dwarf, Asha the elf, and Caledor the wizard assembled together as "Dread's Bane" to crush Zargon's forces.

I naturally began with "The Trial" last week, but unfortunately I had not discovered this forum at that point, and so could not report on it. However, it's enough to say that all four of my heroes emerged from the catacombs of Verag alive having slain every foe and looted every room at least once. I actually find "The Trial" to be an unusually challenging quest for the first one. Yes it is indeed a "trial", but is it the right kind of trial for brand new players? The loremasters will debate the matter forever, but I say "no" (not that I think "The Maze" was much better). The last time I saw my mother I vowed that on Christmas Day I shall be taking my new copy of HeroQuest down to her house to play it with her and her husband. But I will not put them through "The Trial"—it would prove far too hard for them. I may actually just created my own, far simpler, Christmas quest for the day.

Anyway, it's currently 9 p.m. here in Scotland on this Saturday, and "Dread's Bane" just successfully completed "The Rescue of Sir Ragnar". You know, one of the joys of playing this new HeroQuest is that it has been such a long time since I played these default quests that I have forgotten almost everything about them, so it's like playing them again for the very first time. This feeling is only enhanced by the fact that this is my first time using the North American ruleset. However, for whatever reason, I remembered exactly where Sir Ragnar was located, and that an alarm was triggered when one of the heroes discovered him. I therefore determined that by the time we found Sir Ragnar, none of Zargon's minions would be alive to respond to the alarm. In my opinion, the only sane thing to do when playing "The Trial" is to keep your party together, but I feel that you will probably get away with splitting up in "The Rescue of Sir Ragnar", and so that's exactly what Dread's Bane did. However, Thorgal the Dwarf had generated some ill feeling after last week's adventure, because he had found a significant amount of gold in Verag's chamber and yet, rather than sharing it with his companions, had put it towards buying himself a new helmet instead. Therefore, the other members of Dread's Bane insisted that since Thorgal had selfishly bestowed himself with greater protection, he should be the one to venture into the area of this new dungeon that was likely the most dangerous.

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Caledor the wizard can often feel quite useless compared to his companions, because while his contributions to their efforts are usually essential, they are rare, whereas the others—especially the barbarian and the dwarf—are routinely cutting down the minions of Zargon. This can often lead to Caledor putting himself at unnecessary risk, such as when, on this occasion, he strayed from the party and ended up encountering a goblin in a darkened hallway, a goblin that then proceeded to savagely wound Caledor, who was ultimately forced to burn the impish creature to cinders with his "Fire of Wrath" spell. Then, as if having learned nothing from the experience, he would later go on to do that which his companions had repeatedly told him was too risky—he attempted to search for treasure in a chamber alone. Predictably, an orc ambushed him as he did so and nearly killed him outright. Caledor fled for his life and Thorgal the Dwarf had to run to engage the orc lest it pursue him, this despite the fact that Thorgal was already engaged with both an orc and a goblin. As a form of wizardly thanks, Caledor cast "Rock Skin" on Thorgal, giving him even more protection from foes than his shiny new helmet already provided. Thankfully, Caledor seemed to learn from that nearly fatal mistake of his and, having regenerated himself with his "Heal Body" spell, spent the rest of the adventure pacing the cleared dungeon corridors in shame at his own hubris.

Asha the elf, meanwhile, had ventured alone to the south-western corner of the dungeon, led by her elven intuition. There, employing both her combat and magical prowess, she slew multiple opponents, only being wounded when she triggered a trap in an attempt to find treasure. Behind a secret portal, however, she uncovered both an orc and an abomination guarding a door behind which she knew Sir Ragnar was likely being held. She made short work of the orc, but the abomination proved too powerful and, having inflicted only a single wound on the beast, Asha was forced to flee, calling to Thorgal for assistance. As chance would have it, Thorgal, who had eventually been joined by Jaegar the barbarian, had just finished slaying the last monsters in the north-eastern chambers, and although he was eager to open a chest he had found there, he did not hesitate to respond to Asha's calls, begrudgingly leaving the loot for the severely wounded barbarian to claim. Asha passed Thorgal in a corridor, the Abomination pursuing close behind, and the dwarf met the beast in combat, still enchanted by the wizard's "Rock Skin" spell, not having received even a single wound upon his bloody trail.

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But whereas Thorgal had previously watched Jaegar falter against every opponent that he had encountered, his broadsword seemingly incapable of striking true, it seemed that the fickle gods had now turned their backs on him, for try as he might, he could not deliver a killing blow to the abomination. The beast, however, quickly wounded him, causing the wizard's enchantment to finally dissipate. Back and forth the two of them fought, Thorgal's companions too wounded to risk venturing near for fear that the abomination would turn its attention upon them. While Thorgal was certain that his companions were not deliberately leaving him to fend for himself as punishment for his greed the previous week, he was not so certain that the gods were not so doing. Nonetheless, Thorgal's weapon finally found a spot in his opponent's flesh, and the abomination fell slain at last. With great haste Asha the elf returned to the secret chamber that she had uncovered, and behind the locked door within, she found Sir Ragnar. He was greatly sapped of strength, having endured much torture, but was still capable of walking unaided.

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And so it was that Dread's Bane escaped from the dungeon with Sir Ragnar, receiving 240 gold as a reward for the rescue. Perhaps the greatest reward, however, was the humbling that each of the heroes received. They had grown overconfident after their victory over Verag, and that overconfidence had brought three of them to the brink of death. After the adventure, Caledor the wizard bought himself a staff, hoping that he might use it to contribute to his companion's fighting efforts more intelligently than he had attempted during the rescue of Sir Ragnar.
Last edited by David McMurdo on Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:12pm, edited 2 times in total.
Author of Experiential Spirituality. Currently writing my next book, some flash fiction, and some poetry. I made a video explaining my history with HeroQuest, why I love it so much, and giving a review of Avalon Hill's re-release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ItzpfT ... vidMcMurdo
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Re: The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

Postby Kurgan » Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:05pm

Excellent! Only now are you on the way to becoming true heroes... |_P

The Trial really is the baptism of fire for HQ players, especially under the NA ruleset. Many decide the game is not for them after this adventure, but whether they become a fan for life or get scared off (Rogar's Hall would have scared off even more I think), they'll never be the same!

[PS: I assume the app didn't do anything special with "sounding the alarm,"... a common problem with The Trial is the anticlimax when you find the prisoner and the monsters in the dungeon are all dead already, so it's just an uneventful slog back to the stairs]


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Re: The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

Postby David McMurdo » Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:10pm

Kurgan wrote:Excellent! Only now are you on the way to becoming true heroes...

[PS: I assume the app didn't do anything special with "sounding the alarm,"... a common problem with The Trial is the anticlimax when you find the prisoner and the monsters in the dungeon are all dead already, so it's just an uneventful slog back to the stairs]



Thanks. There was a special alarm sound when I found Sir Ragnar, and it told me to place the remaining monsters on the map, but of course there were none. "Slog" is the perfect word to describe the process of getting Sir Ragnar back to the staircase. Tonight I didn't ever roll higher than 3 on his single D6 move dice, so it took a while. What's interesting is that the app refuses to let even a single of your heroes leave the dungeon if Sir Ragnar has not already left, and as soon as Sir Ragnar has left, the quest is over, no matter what your remaining heroes might be doing. Made me glad I cleared the dungeon before getting Sir Ragnar, or else I might have missed out on some loot. In the old days I'd make a beeline for Sir Ragnar and get him out of the picture as soon as possible so I could loot the dungeon without worrying about him.

EDIT: Actually I have a question about "The Rescue of Sir Ragnar": in the north-eastern part of the dungeon you can find a chest that contains gold and a healing potion. The quest's description says that the healing potion restores four body points, just like Water of Healing and Heal Body do (and I confirmed this with both the physical quest book, and the old North American quest book that us uploaded to this site). And yet, healing potions usually only restore D6 health. Is this a mistake or does this dungeon simply contain a different kind of healing potion?
Author of Experiential Spirituality. Currently writing my next book, some flash fiction, and some poetry. I made a video explaining my history with HeroQuest, why I love it so much, and giving a review of Avalon Hill's re-release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ItzpfT ... vidMcMurdo
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Re: The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

Postby Kurgan » Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:44pm

Many of us have come up with our own solutions. I had fun with the idea of having a slight delay then reinforcements (a few squads of orcs) showing up to try to stop the escape of the heroes with the knight... as opposed to just chipping away at their health with the Evil Wizard Deck.

I made them a limited, but substantial force (say 8-12 of them) and they were hidden in some unused rooms (with undetectable secret doors) that open when the alarm sounds (or at the point when there are no more living monsters to discover in the quest). I put together something similar for Prince Magnus' gold. I learned that the secret rooms should be undetectable, otherwise heroes who go exploring will find your secret reinforcements and wipe them out early, leading to the same "anti-climax ending" we often have here. Little kids probably don't mind rolling dice and chatting about all the things they're going to buy with their gold, but adults get impatient and bored. :? :lol:

Another thing about the reinforcements its its probably better to have them driving the heroes towards the door instead of coming down the stairs. iKarith and I played that way and his solution was to cash veil of mist AND swift wind on sir ragnar so he could rush past the mob, while everyone else had to slash their way through. A few Fimirs could also help encourage them to flee rather than stand and fight.

Another thing is for Zargon (don't think the app would allow this) to put the Heroes into "haste" mode once the alarm sounds, giving them a +2 square movement bonus to each roll, at least while there are monsters on the board. There are many questions people have about what Sir Ragnar can do. You can heal him, but how much? (I cap him out at 3 BP, but that's me). What if you hand him a weapon can he fight? Or can you toss a piece of armor on him? Granted you usually won't have anything at this point but the rules don't really say, so strictly speaking he can't do anything except run, but I hear in the App he's allowed to search for stuff (just not treasure).

As for potions, the ones on the cards are strictly defined, but in the Quest Notes, they can literally be anything. 4 BP is just a nice little bonus, but it's not an error. Sometimes you find ones that are worth 2 or even only 1, so take advantage when you get the 4's! Under NA rules (aka "Potion Hoarder Edition") you don't have to discard your unused treasure potions between quests (turn in the card, but keep the value written on your sheet until used up). So unlike Vegas, what happens in a quest doesn't have to stay in that quest... Not only that you've probably learned that they can save you from dying as well, a feature you guys didn't have in your edition.
Last edited by Kurgan on Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:57pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: The Adventures of "Dread's Bane"

Postby David McMurdo » Saturday December 4th, 2021 6:51pm

Kurgan wrote:Many of us have come up with our own solutions. I had fun with the idea of having a slight delay then reinforcements (a few squads of orcs) showing up to try to stop the escape of the heroes with the knight... as opposed to just chipping away at their health with the Evil Wizard Deck.

I made them a limited, but substantial force (say 8-12 of them) and they were hidden in some unused rooms (with undetectable secret doors) that open when the alarm sounds (or at the point when there are no more living monsters to discover in the quest). I put together something similar for Prince Magnus' gold. I learned that the secret rooms should be undetectable, otherwise heroes who go exploring will find your secret reinforcements and wipe them out early, leading to the same "anti-climax ending" we often have here. Little kids probably don't mind rolling dice and chatting about all the things they're going to buy with their gold, but adults get impatient and bored. :? :lol:

Another thing is for Zargon (don't think the app would allow this) to put the Heroes into "haste" mode once the alarm sounds, giving them a +2 square movement bonus to each roll, at least while there are monsters on the board. There are many questions people have about what Sir Ragnar can do. You can heal him, but how much? (I cap him out at 3 BP, but that's me). What if you hand him a weapon can he fight? Or can you toss a piece of armor on him? Granted you usually won't have anything at this point but the rules don't really say, so strictly speaking he can't do anything except run, but I hear in the App he's allowed to search for stuff (just not treasure).

As for potions, the ones on the cards are strictly defined, but in the Quest Notes, they can literally be anything. 4 BP is just a nice little bonus, but it's not an error. Sometimes you find ones that are worth 2 or even only 1, so take advantage when you get the 4's! Under NA rules (aka "Potion Hoarder Edition") you don't have to discard your unused treasure potions between quests (turn in the card, but keep the value written on your sheet until used up). Not only that you've probably learned that they can save you from dying as well, a feature you guys didn't have in your edition.


I can see why that potion rule exists in the North American ruleset. Because every monster in the UK edition had only one hit point, carrying potions over just wasn't necessary. In fact, I used to play the quests with the barbarian alone (it's what made Gremlin's HeroQuest video game so boring for me—way too easy). That's just not feasible with the North American ruleset, and I'm VERY grateful that I get to keep my potions now. They are sorely needed.
Author of Experiential Spirituality. Currently writing my next book, some flash fiction, and some poetry. I made a video explaining my history with HeroQuest, why I love it so much, and giving a review of Avalon Hill's re-release: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ItzpfT ... vidMcMurdo
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